Thursday, 16 January 2020

Mapperly Update

It has been a busy two months with birthdays, holidays and Christmas…but I have managed to squeeze three brief ringing sessions at Mapperley Wood. Whilst the sessions have not been particularly long, nor the catches high, the variety has been nice. Another Male Sparrowhawk found the net and the first Redwing for the site was caught. My three-year-old son also joined me for his first ringing session as official empty-bird-bag carrier.

Catches are as follows: (New/Retrap)

Blue Tit 5/0, Coal Tit 0/3, Great Tit 2/1, Long Tailed Tit 5/0, Sparrowhawk 1/0, Dunnock 1/0

Blue Tit 4/1, Coal Tit 2/0, Great Tit 1/0, Long Tailed Tit 2/1, Nuthatch 0/1, Redwing 0/1, Robin 1/0

Blackbird 1/0, Blue Tit 5/0, Great Tit 5/0, Long Tailed Tit 1/1, Dunnock 1/1, Robin 1/0


 Sparrowhawk, Nuthatch, Redwing and juv Phillips (A. Phillips)

Monday, 13 January 2020

Colwick Garden Update

Garden ringing continues in Colwick on a semi-regular basis, and it's been good to have a full year on it in 2019 to see the comings and goings through the seasons. It's been interesting (and frustrating!) to see how birds that are quite numerous such as Chaffinch and Blackbird are quick to clear off as soon as they get the faintest whiff of a mist net, whilst other species seem to be a lot less wary, particularly Goldfinch.

As previously noted, Goldfinch make up the bulk of the captures, with nearly 200 caught since August 2018, including a few that had been ringed over at Holme Pierrepont, and one of mine has been caught over there too. Predictably, tits bulk up the rest of the numbers, and it has been nice to regularly catch Coal Tits. I managed to catch one of the few Reed Buntings that visit the garden in late winter, and several wintering Blackcaps too. I aim to continue as I have been (though the birth of my son will likely reduce net hours!) [Ed- CONGRATULATIONS TOM!], and also to continue to work out ways to better place my nets to reduce spooking the birds!

Current totals at the end of 2019 are below.


New Retrap Total
Blackbird 3 0 3
Blackcap 3 1 4
Blue Tit 65 34 99
Chaffinch 5 0 5
Coal Tit 16 5 21
Dunnock 9 7 16
Goldcrest 2 0 2
Goldfinch 198 15 213
Great Tit 29 5 34
Greenfinch 11 0 11
House Sparrow 7 0 7
Long-tailed Tit 24 3 27
Reed Bunting 1 0 1
Robin 5 0 5
Woodpigeon 2 0 2
Wren 3 0 3
  383 70 453

Monday, 30 December 2019

Help Attenborough Nature Reserve!

The group have just donated to the appeal to buy and save Attenborough Nature Reserve. The Wildlife Trust is not far off their target, but every last penny is gratefully received. Please help by donating here:

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Monday, 2 December 2019

Sutton Bonington, Sunday 1 December

The first December visit of the winter to the feeding site today. The team consisted of Holly, Sue, Sarah, Maria, Alex, Mick T, Gary and me. We have been blessed with pretty calm weather at this site so far this winter and today was no exception, so we put up another couple of rather exposed nets against a lower hedge to try for a better result with Redwing and it did the trick with 36 caught. The feeding site was pretty quiet again but the overall catching rate was steady throughout the morning. We ended with a catch of 77 including 20 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Blackbird 1/0, Redwing 36/0, Robin 1/1, Dunnock 2/1, Wren 1/0, Blue Tit 2/12, Great Tit 1/6, Bullfinch 1/0, Chaffinch 3/0, Greenfinch 6/0, House Sparrow 3/0. The Bullfinch is only the second we have ringed at the site. The oldest retrap was a Blue Tit from 2016.


Saturday, 30 November 2019

Barn Owl - This is Your Life

Whilst unsuccessfully searching for Long-eared Owls last Sunday evening, Don Pritchett and I caught a local Barn Owl for which we now have an interesting life history:
  • 2014 – ringed as chick at Gamston, Nottingham
  • 2016 – bred and reared 3 young ringed in Orston
  • 2017 – bred and reared 2 young ringed in Orston
  • 2018 – bred with 6 small chicks/eggs (next check was delayed so not sure if she failed, but may explain move in 2019)
  • 2019 – caught twice breeding at Elton Park by another ringer
  • November 2019 - netted in Orston
As is often the case, we tend to know a bit more about the females as we catch more regularly in nestboxes.

Whilst out we also noted hundreds of thrushes roosting in the hedges, and several Woodcock and Snipe were nearby.


Monday, 25 November 2019

Sutton Bonington, Sunday 24 November

Fourth visit of the winter to the feeding site today. The team consisted of Holly, Sue, Duncan, Mick T and me. The weather was calm and very overcast. We again tried the Redwing tape first thing and it attracted a great number of birds into the copse but unfortunately most would not drop down low enough to catch. There were hundreds of thrushes passing overhead in parties during the first hour or two after dawn. The site was quiet again and catching was slow but fairly steady throughout the morning and we did get the first Great Spotted Woodpecker of the winter.

We ended with a catch of 33 including 14 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Great Spotted Woodpecker 1/0, Redwing 8/0, Long-tailed Tit 0/2, Blue Tit 5/5, Great Tit 1/6, Coal Tit 1/0, Chaffinch 1/1, Greenfinch 1/0, House Sparrow 1/0, Reed Bunting 0/1. The oldest retrap was a Blue Tit from 2015.


 Blue Tit & Great Spotted Woodpecker (S. Lakeman)

Saturday, 23 November 2019

Sutton Bonington, Sunday 17 November

We made the third visit of the winter to the feeding site today. The team comprised Holly, Sarah, Duncan, Mick T and me. The weather was calm and very overcast with intermittent drizzle. We tried the Redwing tape first thing which produced a couple of birds but generally the site was quieter than it had been for the last two visits. Catching was slow but fairly steady throughout the morning and we did get the first Coal Tit, Reed Bunting and Woodpigeon of the winter.

We ended with a catch of 37 including 20 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Woodpigeon 1/0, Redwing 2/0, Robin 0/1, Dunnock 0/1, Blue Tit 3/7, Great Tit 2/10, Coal Tit 1/0, Chaffinch 3/0, House Sparrow 5/0, Reed Bunting 0/1.

A Brambling was hanging around the top of the trees near the copse but we could not persuade it to come down to the feeders even with the use of a sound lure. The oldest retrap was a Reed Bunting from 2016.


 Coal Tit (K. Hemsley)

Monday, 11 November 2019

November so far...

Sutton Bonington
We made the first visit of the winter to the feeding site on 3 Nov. A few of us had put the feeders up and baited the site a couple of weeks previously. We were not expecting much as the forecast the previous day was not good but for once the forecast was incorrect and the weather was settled and calm. Quite a while after dawn we looked towards the copse and saw a Barn Owl heading across the field and into the trees but of course it avoided the nets there! Catching was steady throughout the morning including plenty of Blue Tits and Great Tits including a leucistic individual. 
We ended with a catch of 54 including 2 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Robin 1/0, Blue Tit 25/2, Great Tit 11/0, Long-tailed Tit 9/0, Chaffinch 4/0, Goldfinch 1/0, Greenfinch 1/0. The oldest retrap was from 2017.
The second visit was made on 10 Nov, again in good conditions. The first round was very quiet but it picked up slowly as the morning went on and we finished on 56 including 27 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Robin 1/1, Dunnock 1/0, Blue Tit 10/14, Great Tit 4/8, Long-tailed Tit 6/3, Chaffinch 2/0, Lesser Redpoll 2/0, Greenfinch 0/1, House Sparrow 3/0. Most of the retraps were from the previous week but the oldest was a Long-tailed Tit from 2014.
The teams for these two visits comprised Maria, Alex, Holly, Sarah, Duncan, Mick T, Gary and me.
Ramsdale Park Golf Centre
On 6 Nov Mick T and I made a visit here to try for a few more Redwing. Absolutely perfect conditions but not so many birds around. Catching was slow but steady and we finished on 37 including 1 retrap, made up of (new/retrap): Redwing 19/0, Song Thrush 1/0, Blackbird 5/0, Wren 2/0, Robin 1/1, Blue Tit 3/0, Great Tit 2/0, Greenfinch 2/0, Bullfinch 1/0. The only retrap was a Robin from 2018. Overhead passed 100+ Pink Feet heading south.
 partially leucistic Great Tit, Sutton Bonington, 3 November (K. Hemsley)

Brackenhurst, Saturday 9 November

We made our first visit of the autumn to Brackenhurst on Saturday. We were Sophie, newbie Ella and myself. A slightly late start, but we managed 63 birds. About half of them were juvenile tits, perhaps  suggesting a good breeding season this year. We catch few Bullfinch or Coal Tit here, and today's birds were the first since 2015. Worryingly, we had a Bullfinch with papillomavirus (see picture); it was released unringed. Away from the nets, there were plenty of ‘winter’ thrushes knocking around and pleasingly several Bullfinch.
Oldest retraps were a Chaffinch & Great Tit ringed in 2016, both were adults then and will have been born in 2014 or earlier.
Birds handled included (new/retrap 57/6): Blackbird 3/-, Blue Tit 14/1, Bullfinch 2/-, Chaffinch -/1, Coal Tit 1/-, Dunnock 4/-, Goldcrest 3/-, Goldfinch 2/-, Great Tit 8/4, House Sparrow 5/-, Long-tailed Tit 1/-, Redwing 4/3, Robin 4/-, Treecreeper 2/-, Wren 1/-.


 Bullfinch showing symptoms of Fringilla papillomavirus (J. Lennon)

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Mapperley Wood, Derbyshire, Sunday 27 October

I returned for a second year to Mapperley Wood near Stanton by Dale, just into Derbyshire; my winter ringing site. Located just ten minutes from my home, this site is mix of semi-ancient woodland and wet woodland and is home to Nuthatches, Water Rail and Tawny Owls.

The site is managed by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and they provide seed during the winter months – topped up by myself.

I only set two nets, one 12m and one 6m close to the feeder. For a quick three hour session I was rewarded with 22 birds of 10 species, including the first Nuthatch of the winter and second-year male Sparrowhawk that blundered into the net not long after putting them up.

Totals (new/recapture): Blue Tit 2/1, Bullfinch 1/0, Coal Tit 1/0, Dunnock 2/0, Great Tit 6/2, Long-tailed Tit 1/2, Nuthatch 1/0, Robin 1/0, Sparrowhawk 1/0 and Wren 1/0.


Sunday, 27 October 2019

Ramsdale Park Golf Centre, Sunday 27 October

After the good catch we had last Tuesday we paid another visit to Ramsdale today with a team of Sue, Holly, Sarah, Gary and me. We again set the usual seven 18m nets in conditions that were fairly calm but the stars in the sky meant we were in for full sun as it rose. Three MP3s were set all playing Redwing song. As dawn broke and we made the first round and it was obvious it was going to be a quieter day than last Tuesday. Overall throughout the morning there seemed to be considerably less birds around of all species and with the sun climbing in the sky and the breeze pickling up we decided to finish early, with a round of empty nets. We did have a Brambling calling nearby and a Nuthatch along with a Jay or two. Later in the session we tried playing all these calls on the MP3s but without success. We ended with a total catch of 22 including 7 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Blackbird 5/0, Redwing 8/0, Dunnock 0/1, Wren 0/1, Goldcrest 1/1, Blue Tit 1/0, Long-tailed Tit 0/4. The oldest retrap was a Long-tailed Tit from 2017.


 Net ride and Redwing (S. Lakeman)

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Ramsdale Park Golf Centre, Tuesday 22 October

A visit to Ramsdale was made with good sized mid-week team of Sue, Duncan, Gary, Mick T and me along with Dawn who came along on a taster session. We set the usual 7 x 18m nets in near perfect conditions. Three MP3s were set playing, with mixed warblers and Redwing song. A steady catch was made throughout the morning, not as many Redwing around as I thought there might be but still a decent catch. The warbler calls attracted nothing, the only warbler caught was close to an MP3 playing Redwing! 
We ended with a total catch of 78 including 14 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Blackbird 2/0, Song Thrush 3/0, Redwing 21/0, Dunnock 2/0, Robin 2/2, Wren 4/2, Chiffchaff 1/0, Goldcrest 2/1, Blue Tit 12/3, Great Tit 3/0, Long-tailed Tit 8/6, Bullfinch 3/0, Greenfinch 1/0. The oldest retraps were a Long-tailed Tit and Blue Tit from 2017.

Friday, 18 October 2019

Recent Recoveries

Here is the pick of the recoveries that have come through in the past four months or so.

Two Kestrel records have come in, both concerning birds found and taken into care. The first, found on the road in Marton near Gainsborough in June, had originally been ringed in Girton in the nest in 2014. Unfortunately this bird died as a result of its injuries. The other had originally been ringed as a chick in Lambley in 2016 and was taken into care in nearby Calverton in August.

A Black-headed Gull, ringed on the Gull Island colony at Attenborough back in 2010, was found with injuries and released onto a local water-body in Wellingborough, Northants in July this year.

An Attenborough Grey Heron, ringed as a chick in 2015, has been seen alive and well 4 years on on the reserve.

Ringing activities at Holme Pierrepont this summer have resulted in a good run of recoveries and controls:
  • A Reed Warbler ringed at Icklesham in 2018 was recovered at HP in July, and another ringed at Cottam in August this year was captured on site 11 days later.
  • A Blackcap originally ringed at Wymondham in Leics in August was caught on site on 1 September, and a Blackcap ringed in July on site was captured on 14 September at Stanford Reservoir. 
  • A Chiffchaff ringed in July was also caught by ringers at Stanford on the same day.
  • A Garden Warbler, caught on 16 July, was controlled 3 weeks later at Titchfield Haven on the south coast.
  • A Cetti's Warbler, ringed initially at Marsworth Reservoir near Tring on 13 August, was caught on site in October, one of many young Cetti's Warblers caught on site this year. 
  • A Great Tit, ringed in July, Hit a window in Carlton in September.
Away from Holme Pierrepont, another Great Tit, ringed at Brackenhurst, Southwell in January 2017, was controlled by ringers at Langford Lowfields in June this year.

Skeletal remains of a Robin, ringed at Bestwood in January this year, were found in Wakefield, Yorks, in June. Another Robin, ringed in 2014 in Kev's Garden in Toton, was caught by a nearby cat in June. Similarly, a Coal Tit caught at the same site on Christmas Eve of 2018 was also caught by a cat a week before the Robin met the same fate.


Sunday, 13 October 2019

Holme Pierrepont, Thursday 10 October

Mick T, Gary, Duncan, Sophie and I went to the Grange end this morning to close the site down for the year and remove all the poles and guys at the end of the session. The conditions were breezy from the start with mainly clear skies. We set 11 of the usual 12 nets with three MP3s playing warbler calls. Catching was quite brisk to start but the rising sun and increasing wind made us finish a little earlier than usual. The only migrant warblers caught were a singe Chiffchaff and a couple of late Reed Warblers. It was nice to catch a control Cetti’s Warbler and a new male Sparrowhawk (a female was also around), but the biggest surprise was a Nuthatch in the net when we went to take down. To the best of our knowledge this was the first Nuthatch ringing record for Holme Pierrepont since we started here in 1979.

We ended with a total of 47 birds including 13 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Sparrowhawk 1/0, Dunnock 1/0, Wren 7/2, Song Thrush 1/0, Reed Warbler 2/0, Chiffchaff 1/0, Cetti’s Warbler 0/1, Blue Tit 6/5, Great Tit 6/2, Long-tailed Tit 3/3, Nuthatch 1/0, Goldcrest 1/0, Reed Bunting 4/0. The oldest retrap was a Great Tit from 2017. Overhead was fairly quiet, no winter thrushes in evidence but a Jay and Raven did go over.


Sparrowhawk & Nuthatch (K. Hemsley)